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Relative efficiency of specific and ad-valorem tariffs in a model of monopolistic competition

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  • Durceylan, Esra

Abstract

The relative efficiency of ad-valorem and specific tariffs is still an active debate in the international trade literature. Contrary to the general belief about the ad-valorem tariff being superior under various imperfectly competitive market settings, it is shown that the specific tariff generates more welfare under monopolistic competition. We argue that this result is not general. If we follow the empirical evidence that firms use variable mark-ups and use a utility function that allows for it, we find that the ad-valorem tariff is more efficient when consumers’ love for variety is low. The relative efficiency overturns to the specific tariff as consumers’ love for variety increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Durceylan, Esra, 2012. "Relative efficiency of specific and ad-valorem tariffs in a model of monopolistic competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 874-877.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:117:y:2012:i:3:p:874-877
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2012.06.044
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin, Julien, 2012. "Markups, quality, and transport costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 777-791.
    2. Anderson, Simon P. & de Palma, Andre & Kreider, Brent, 2001. "The efficiency of indirect taxes under imperfect competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 231-251, August.
    3. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-FranÁois Thisse, 2002. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(2), pages 409-436, May.
    4. Michael Keen, 1998. "The balance between specific and ad valorem taxation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 1-37, February.
    5. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
    6. Greenhut, Melvin L & Norman, George, 1986. "Spatial Pricing with a General Cost Function; the Effects of Taxes on Imports," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(3), pages 761-776, October.
    7. Feenstra, Robert C., 2003. "A homothetic utility function for monopolistic competition models, without constant price elasticity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 79-86, January.
    8. Julien Martin, 2009. "Spatial Price Discrimination in International Markets," Working Papers 2009-21, CEPII research center.
    9. Jan Jørgensen & Philipp Schröder, 2005. "Welfare-ranking ad valorem and specific tariffs under monopolistic competition," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(1), pages 228-241, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Specific and ad-valorem tariffs; Efficiency; Monopolistic competition;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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